Thank you for the well spoken response to my quotes! So the thing is I sorta have these as quotes that I personally keep to myself, the last one being sorta a potential comment to friends.
An oft repeated cliché. And one having only limited truth, in any case.
Dressing toward the high end of the attire spectrum for those with your job is fine. But dressing fundamentally differently from everyone else at your current job level, in order to look more like the people at the level you want to join, is more likely than not a mistake. It's one thing to aspire, another to pretend.
The way I view this quote is more the confidence that dressing up instills in me. For instance I work in a machine shop, a far cry for a place to get away with wearing a blazer, suit, etc. I am one of the entry level engineers and as so do both physical labor and of course the engineering work that my degree is based on. Most days I wear a T-shirt and jeans because of the constant contact with machining, which lets face it isn't a clean activity. However on days I know I'm staying clean I wear a polo, and it gives me a mental boost. Not in a I'm better than others, but more a this is what 4 years of schooling has been for, this is what I want to be when I get my final diploma. I see the higher level engineers and people in our marketing and management division and know if I worked hard enough and matched their attire as I grew I could have the opportunity to be with them. Clothes don't define the man, but the confidence I have in what I wear helps me reach further.
I suspect that the sort of person who'd question you for wearing something slightly nicer than he's got on, would respond poorly to this response. Since hearing an overt recognition of romantic possibilities is at least as off putting to many people as is seeing someone nicely dressed. (Ironically, hearing an overt recognition of sexual possibilities may not be at all off putting to such a person, at least if he's a guy. Many people are far more comfortable hearing about sex, than about romance. I leave you to draw your own conclusions as to why this may be.) (And, in any case, it's vulgar to tell someone that you dress nicely because you're hoping to get laid.)
This is more personal for me, I'd never say this to anyone who was giving me any hate for dressing up. I'm a guy who still believes in romantic gestures and meeting someone who just changes everything. It's just a thought in my head when I finish up the last touch of an outfit and think "Maybe tonight..."
Moreover, couching your response in terms of "I/you all" only emphasizes that you choose to set yourself apart from the questioner and those resembling him in dress. That's fine if you're comfortable embracing a position outside the group, but from your previous posts in this thread, it's fairly clear that you're not 100% okay with such a dynamic and that you desire at least some level of acceptance by the questioner and his sartorial peer group.
When I dress up I do it with confidence, if anyone tries to bring me down I stand tall in what I'm wearing/doing. I've committed to dressing up for the night, I'm going to embrace it. So when someone does mention anything to me, I do intend to use this one to assert my stance. Sure I feel unsure behind the curtain as you can see from this thread I created, but confidence is sexy and desirable. It is confrontational, but amongst early 20's college guys, its sorta the caliber of tone I need. Guess we'll see if anyone brings anything up this week.